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Deconstructing Derrida: Deconstructing a Cliff A Tract Book Essay A Satirical Allegory By Anthony J. Fejfar, J.D., Esq.

, Coif © Copyright 2007 by Anthony J. Fejfar

Let us imagine that a law professor has gone up to Harvard and has sat in on a seminar dealing with deconstruction ala Derrida. Professor Jones comes back to Widemount University School of Law and begins a faculty presentation about deconstruction. Jones begins by arguing that linguistics are the basis for reality. Put another way, linguistic deconstruction shows us what reality really is. Jones then takes the example that he learned at Harvard, that a “Cliff” could be linguistically deconstructed to show the ultimate nature of the Cliff. Jones starts out with a nice picture of a cliff He points out that the word

face of rock at the base of the Grand Canyon.

“Cliff” is culturally subjective and in a sense does not really exist. Undoudtedly, “Cliff” was a word which developed in a racist, patriarchal society and must be exposed by deconstruction for what it really is, that is, a


culturally arbitrary covention which lends a certain trajectory of meaning regarding a rock face. Unfortunately for Professor Jones, Professor Fejfar, a Critical Thomist at Widemount University School of Law raises a few awkard questions. “Professor Jones, aren’t you taking a remarkably one sided idealist approach to this question. Over 400 years ago Shakespeare asked “would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?” In this context, I would

ask, “would a cliff by any other name stop being a steep rock wall?” The answer is no. Professor Fejfar argues that linguistic deconstruction does not really by itself disclose the nature of reality. It may say something useful, but not enough to persuade us that deconstructing the word “Cliff” actually deconstructs ‘Cliff’ itself. So, for example let us say that there are several different words for the word “Cliff,” such as cliff, cliffo, rocko, etc. I suggest that however much we deconstruct the words, cliff, cliffo, and rocko, that all other things being equal the real cliff itself will be there the next morning. If Professor Jones insists upon deconstructing “cliff’ right in

front the real cliff rock face, I think that he will find that if he walks into the cliff face he will break his nose. In fact, I would argue that to prevent this

from happening over and over again, Professor Jones would have to get into


a backhoe or other machinery and physically dig out the cliff face until it no longer exists. This is real physical deconstruction as opposed to linguistic deconstruction. Think about it.